New Hope Alliance executive director returns to organization he founded |

New Hope Alliance executive director returns to organization he founded

Jeff Dempsey, The Park Record
Dr. John Hanrahan helped found The Hope Alliance in 1999 and served as its first executive director. After working for several years at the People s Health Clinic, he is now set to return to The Hope Alliance as executive director June 1. (Courtesy of The Hope Alliance)

When Dr. John Hanrahan left The Hope Alliance, the organization he helped to create, it was a health scare that drove him to step down. He was dealing with colon cancer, and felt it was important to cut down on his work and stress level. In truth, he never really left.

"I served on the board as well as leading international expeditions and fundraising," he said. "I was board chair two years ago."

Hanrahan later went on to work at the People’s Health Clinic, but he said The Hope Alliance was always close to his heart. Over the past year, he’d been giving some thought to a full-time return, and when the position of executive director opened up, he knew his chance had come. Hanrahan will return as executive director beginning June 1.

"I am stoked," he said. "I am working now at Hope Alliance on days I am not at the People’s Health Clinic and while it is a bit overwhelming to get caught up with just one to two days a week, I am already really enjoying the work, the people, the variety, everything."

The Hope Alliance was founded in 1999 with the goal of addressing the root causes of poverty. The nonprofit holds medical and dental clinics and offers vocational training and education opportunities all over the world. Hanrahan said he is proud of how much The Hope Alliance has grown over the years. He said not many organizations out there do what The Hope Alliance does.

"We have an extraordinary commitment of time and expertise from volunteers that allow us to greatly leverage donors’ financial support," he said. "We are small and individualized with our projects, very hands on working directly with local partners."

Rejoining The Hope Alliance means leaving the People’s Health Clinic, which coincidentally enough, Hanrahan also helped start 17 years ago. He said in that way, the move is bittersweet, but he has no plans to walk away from the Clinic entirely.

"I have been working as a staff physician at the People’s Health Clinic, [and] I was a volunteer for the 12 years prior to taking a staff position," he said. "As a co-founder of both the Clinic and The Hope Alliance, I am very passionate about both organizations and look forward to helping again in a volunteer role at People’s Health."

In a press release announcing Hanrahan’s appointment, Board President Lisa Blakemore said he was the clear choice in a very talented group of candidates.

"We were fortunate to receive resumes from some pretty amazing and dedicated people," Blakemore said. "But in the end, no one could match John’s enthusiasm and experience. The entire board is thrilled he was chosen and we look forward to seeing where John’s leadership will take The Hope Alliance next."

Hanrahan said he expects this tenure as executive director to be a little different from his first. Then, he was building an organization from scratch. Now, both he and The Hope Alliance have nearly two decades of experience.

"I think there are big differences in my ability to stay relaxed and not stress out about the job roles as much," he said. "I am also much more comfortable fundraising. Yes, having existed now for 16 years, with a great track record and strong staff, Board and volunteers, makes it much easier to restart. There is no more risk of failing to get it going at this point."

Hanrahan said he can’t wait for June 1 to arrive.

"I feel energized and motivated to continue to expand on the great work of my predecessors and am already loving it," he said. "At the same time, I am leaving a wonderful clinic, with great staff, volunteers and patients all of whom I will miss dearly."

For more information on upcoming expeditions and volunteer opportunities, visit

Park City